1) What are the assessments like, and how can I prepare for them?
The Math, English and ESL (English as a Second Language) assessments are multiple-choice tests. They are timed, offered via computer and takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Your score (the number of correct answers) will correspond with a Math, English, or ESL class, that will be recommended for you. You will discuss your results with a counselor (see #3 below).
Most students do not study or prepare for these tests. Please be prepared, you can only take the exam once a year; the assessment results should reflect your current skill level and ability. However, some students want to review math material they have studied in the past, but may have forgotten, and some students feel out of practice taking tests and find it helpful to refresh their test-taking skills. Helpful resources might be books designed to help people prepare for the CBEST, SAT, ACT, or other multiple-choice standardized test—such study guides can be found in public libraries or commercial bookstores. Students can also look at the following sites to refresh themselves before taking the exam:
Assessment Preparation Resources
KHAN Academy/ khanacademy.org
Patrick JMT/ patrickjmt.com
Important Note: There is no cost to take the exam. Please come prepared by bringing a pencil, no calculators, completed orientation certificate and photo identification (e.g., Driver’s license, passport, student ID card, or a state-issued ID card are all acceptable) with you to your scheduled assessment exam. High school students need to also have a Concurrent Enrollment Form completed by the high school counselor or principal, along with the intended classes you need to take, signed by high school with the school stamp and the parent’s signature. Lastly, the following is not permitted in the exam room: Children, electronic devices (must be turned off), food and beverages. Come to your appointment well-rested and refreshed, don’t come to the assessment hungry, and be prepared to stay for the duration of the test.
2) Who takes the assessment tests? Who attends the orientations?
The assessment tests and orientations are available to all students. Many students are recommended for assessment and orientation because when they submit their admissions application they have noted an educational goal that identifies them as matriculating students. The SSSP (matriculating) student’s educational goals are one of the following: to obtain a bachelor’s degree (with or without an associate degree); to earn an associate degree, vocational degree, or vocational certificate; to improve basic skills in English and Math; or they are “undecided” on an educational goal.
Some students are exempt from the assessment tests and orientation because they already earned a degree from an accredited institution, have successfully completed recent English and/or Math courses at another college, or have an educational goal that does not require an assessment. Please see a full description of this information in the class schedule, college catalog, or ask counseling or assessment staff for more details.
*Matriculate: one who is admitted as a student to a college or university.
3) What comes after the orientation and assessment?
During the orientation session, we will review the next steps in the SSSP enrollment process, and students will receive program-planning materials. You will review your assessment results with a college academic counselor to confirm which of the recommended courses are best for you. The assessment results, along with other information you provide, will be used to evaluate these recommendations. All students should read the descriptions of their recommended classes, and be prepared to discuss the courses they would like to take in the upcoming term when meeting with a counselor.
4) Do I have to take the classes that are recommended?
Not always. At times a student and counselor will agree that another course is more useful or appropriate for the student. In some cases students may want to challenge a pre-requisite course (the required successful completion of a course before enrolling in another course); you may ask a counselor about the process to challenge a pre-requisite class.
5) What if I don’t want to take the assessment or attend the orientation?
If you do not qualify for exemption, and want to waive or refuse the assessment and/or orientation, please ask a counselor about the process for filing a petition for waiver or refusal. You may file this petition, and provide the required supporting documentation.
6) Who is exempted from taking the orientation and assessment exam?
Some students are exempt from the assessment tests and orientation because they already earned a degree from an accredited institution, have successfully completed recent English and/or Math courses at another college, have an educational goal that does not require an assessment, or have Advance Placement (AP) scores from high school with a 3 or higher. In order to be approved for exemptions bring your documents with you and see a counselor. Please see a full description of this information in the class schedule, college catalog, or ask counseling or assessment staff for more details.
Assessment & Orientation Schedule
Please Note: This schedule is subject to change. Space is limited, and students must make an appointment. Please arrive 30 minutes early all sessions begin promptly, with no late admittance. To sign-up for an orientation & assessment session, please stop by the assessment office (Room 121, 2050 Center Street), call (510) 981-2804/ (510) 981-5002, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to students with disabilities: If you need special accommodations for the assessment &/or orientation, please contact the Programs and Services for Students with Disabilities (PSSD) staff at (510) 981-2812 to make arrangements.